Escape to Chiang Mai and Krabi

It was an easy journey from CM to Krabi. Everything went well, a quick check in, plane on time and miraculously our bag was the first off the carousel. We walked into the arrivals hall bought 2 tickets for the bus and jumped on behind a towering pile of rucksacks and bags. 30 minutes later we were in our accommodation, easy peasy.

Everything is so different here. The people look different, a different tribe of people than in the north and more Muslims live here, you are very close to Malaysia. Which means different food and a much more tropical climate, it often rains a little in the afternoons which is lovely. The traffic is not as intense as CM which is more relaxing and again we have hired a bike.

The food is more expensive but you seem to get much larger portions. The Thais don’t understand why we regulate ourselves in the West to 3 meals a day they just eat when they are hungry!! The seafood here has a huge variety with lobster, crabs and prawns aplenty as well as lots of interesting fish. The accommodation is also more expensive but after all this part of the world is tourist central with lots of package holidays coming here.

The really attractive thing about Krabi are the magnificent karst hills which are everywhere, on land and also in the sea it is spectacular. The coast, beaches and islands are just beautiful and magical, the water is lukewarm and welcoming. A lot of these parts are covered in palm oil and rubber plantations, vast swathes of them, the wet and tropical weather just perfect for it. A very nice change to the city.

We went on a trip on the bike to the ‘Tiger Temple’ and caves (Wat Tham Sua) about 25 miles away. It is a big complex with a cave where allegedly a tiger used to rest in the morning.

To get to the temple on top of the hill there are 1,237 steps to climb. To access the stairs you first have to pass at least 50 monkeys which want to jump all over you and steal anything they can. They are fun to watch. The stairs are something again. Some are very steep where you have to do a monkey climb, some uneven and after the first 200 or so I thought someone had stolen my lungs. After many air stops, 45 minutes later we eventually got to the top and it was worth the pain. Fantastic views, a cooler breeze and time to recover. The descent was much easier until I stopped at the bottom where my legs were very shaky for at least 20 minutes.

We returned to the guesthouse and the heavens opened. The owner Bandhit (who is Indian not Thai) asked us what we had planned for the day and wondered if we wanted to go out with him for a drive in his car. We went and drank chai tea with a friend who has a local restaurant and looked at a very nice hilltop resort with fantastic views to the coast and inland. He took us for a long drive down the coast and we watched sunset on the beach at a posh resort called Tubkaek, fantastic.

We have booked a transfer to an island called Ko Lanta a little further south of Krabi. It was 300 baht for the bus and ferry ticket to the island (about £7) and takes about 3 hours. Once there we can relax, unpack and enjoy the sea and sand. Looking at what you can do on the island we noticed there was an animal shelter where you can take dogs for walks and cuddle cats, we’ll be there no doubt. We are staying here for a week and the accommodation costs the same as for a month in CM. This is our holiday within a holiday, no expense spared!!

I would like to add another speed to the mini bus; HYPER warp factor 9!!. We are now sat on the ferry waiting for the short trip to the island after what can only be described as an exhilarating 2 hour journey. The driver is friendly but wouldn’t have been out of place in the film ‘one flew over the cuckoo’s nest’, bonkers.

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